Thursday, October 18, 2007

Don't Know George Bush. Never Heard Of Him. Saw The Ad In The Paper.

OK, here's our question. At this point in the Bush administration, shouldn't anyone nominated for any office by the president be automatically disqualified because...well...because Bush nominated them? We mean, talk about a perfect negative barometer...

U.S. attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey denounced torture and pledged to stand up to the White House in pursuit of justice if confirmed. At that point the hearings were paused so that Mukasey could stand up, take off his shoes and socks and spread his hands so senators could determine if his fingers or toes were crossed.

"Legal decisions and the progress of cases are decided by facts and law, not by interests and motives," the retired judge and former federal prosecutor told Congress. When asked how the president had responded to that statement, Mukasey admitted the topic hadn't come up. "We mostly talked about chocolate milk," he said. "The president prefers store bought to the home made kind."

During several hours of testimony, Mukasey said that as attorney general he would review the department's legal justifications for the president's national security policies -- including interrogation, detention and surveillance -- to make sure they are sound and "change them if they are not."

When asked what kind of a time line he would put on changing Bush policies if he felt they were illegal, Mukasey responded he wasn't sure but it would probably be "sometime in early '09."

"Restoring the Department of Justice begins by restoring integrity and independence to the position of attorney general," Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy said.

"I'm sorry, were you talking to me?" Mukasey responded.

Under questioning, Mukasey said he would resign if he was unable to get Bush to drop any initiative that he might believe was unlawful. "I don't really see that happening though." he added. ""I mean come on, how many more laws can the president break?"

"We are party to a (international) treaty that outlaws torture," Mukasey said when asked about torture. "Torture is unlawful under the laws of this country. The president has said that in an executive order which his administration has consistently and comprehensively ignored and my job will be to cover their butts on that."

Mukasey said if confirmed, "Hiring is going to be based solely on competence and ability and dedication." When senator Leahy asked him how it was he thought he could get anyone with competence or ability to work for the most incompetent, unable administration in the history of the country, Mukasey replied "Red Skins season tickets."

In testifying to Congress, Mukasey underscored the need to balance civil liberties with national security. "And you have my word we'll get around to that soon," he added "Right after we finish implementing the warrantless wiretap program."

In nominating Mukasey, Bush sought to avoid a fight with the Democratic-led Congress and even join efforts to restore morale and public confidence at the Justice Department. "Yeah. The democrats fight hard," said an aide to the president. "Look, we could have nominated Sasquatch and eventually they wold have caved, but after a while, where's the challenge?"

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